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Purple. The foundation of an influential trade in a Roman world dominated by men. One woman rises up to take the reins of success in an incredible journey of courage, grit, and friendship. And along the way, she changes the world.

But before she was Lydia, the seller of purple, she was simply a merchant’s daughter who loved three things: her father, her ancestral home, and making dye. Then unbearable betrayal robs her of nearly everything.

With only her father’s secret formulas left, Lydia flees to Philippi and struggles to establish her business on her own. Determination and serendipitous acquaintances—along with her father’s precious dye—help her become one of the city’s preeminent merchants. But fear lingers in every shadow, until Lydia meets the apostle Paul and hears his message of hope, becoming his first European convert. Still, Lydia can’t outrun her secrets forever, and when past and present collide, she must either stand firm and trust in her fledgling faith or succumb to the fear that has ruled her life.

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Afshar has created an unforgettable story of dedication, betrayal, and redemption that culminates in a rich testament to God’s mercies and miracles.

Afshar continues to demonstrate an exquisite ability to bring the women of the Bible to life, this time shining a light on Lydia, the seller of purple, and skillfully balancing fact with imagination. A scant few Scripture verses, making up most of what’s known about Paul’s first European convert, transform into a fictionalized backstory full of adventure as well as inspiration and redemption. And it’s a story that will drive readers deeper into the Biblical account. Readers are also advised to keep their eyes peeled for a fond nod to Afshar’s previous New Testament-based story.

Readers who enjoy Francine Rivers’ Lineage of Grace series will love this standalone book from an author who has shown grace and skill in weaving well-known biblical stories with fictional additions to bring these historical figures to life.

Achingly tender from the first flutter of romance to the last sting of betrayal, Bread of Angels is an intensely emotive and satisfying read.